Last Night’s Election Results

The Democrats took the House, so why does my twitter, facebooks, and text messages from friends feel like a funeral?

Because there were still a lot of people that voted for Republicans, and some key races were lost. Because Trump is tweeting out triumphant tweets. Trump, the master of the brand, is framing the election as a failure.

But it was a victory and with a Democratic house, there will be a brake on policies that don’t make me happy. Let’s give everyone a chance to recover and get some sleep, and then keep up the good work.

Open thread. Talk away.

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How Do You Beat Trump?

A friend just sent me a link to an old article floating around about Kamala Harris and said that he thought that Trump would use it to torpedo her in a 2020 election. I told him that I couldn’t imagine that a little affair and a patronage job would make a dent in the public that has been hardened by recent stories of strippers, a stripper bomber, and a teenage gang rapist. An affair is small potatoes indeed.

Trump is certainly going to go back to his playbook in 2020 and will come up with effective nicknames for each of his opponents. Little Hands Marco. Crooked Hillary. Low Energy Jeb. Those negative brands were extremely successful. He’ll come up with something for each one of his opponents – Booker, Harris, Biden. Warren is already Pocohontas.  Those nicknames don’t need to based on fact or even be all that important. Even if Marco Rubio does indeed have little hands, why the hell should that matter in a politician?

How do you fight someone like Trump, who plays dirty and mean?

Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high” is one way to go. That’s my method. And that’s why I sometimes get uncomfortable when rhetoric gets too uncivil on my end. I cringe when I see an 8-year kid with a “Fuck the Patriarchy” sign. But maybe I’m too old.

Also, going after Trump on his middle school taunts has serious drawbacks. Elizabeth Warren looked like an ass, when she tried to rid herself of her nickname.

Does the “going high” method work anymore? When you’re fighting a low life, maybe it’s better to meet him on his turf.

Okay, I’ve nominated you all campaign managers for a Democratic candidate in 2020. What do you advise?

Research Mode on a Monday

I’m in that love affair stage of a new research topic. I like learning new stuff, pulling together an ambitious outline, and then chunking it into manageable steps. I can spend hours just surfing through links on the computer. The topic is spinning away in my head as I go about my day, sucking up brain band width.

At some point, I’ll have the green light from editors and I can start making phone calls. Even that stage is fun. The horrible part is always assembling the mess into a coherent story, but we’re so far away from that stage that I’m not even worrying about it. I’m still in honeymoon land.

So, what’s going on in the world? We have pipe bombs, crazy vans, and a psychopath mowing down grandmas in a synagogue. Far right candidates win elections in Brazil and Italy. I’m not even sure what to write about all that. We live in a despicable world right now. We’re all characters in a Young Adult dystopian novel.

Why are we here? Shabby schools, social isolation, a weak safety net for the mentally ill, workforce transformations, the Internet? I’m not sure and I don’t think anyone knows. And out here, in the real world, I don’t see a lot of people who are terribly concerned. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve become numbed to random acts of violence and death. People are just too busy trying to get through work loads and family responsibilities. With my latest research obsession and an extended family dinner last night, I suppose I’m no different.

But perhaps that’s okay. We can cultivate goodness in our little spheres. We can make sure our kids finish their reading assignments, and that the oldies are given a proper Sunday dinner. Maybe the perfection of a spinach lasagna can provide some cosmic balance to the evil in the rest of the world. Maybe.

Sometimes it feels like I live in a split screen world with the horrors on cable TV on one screen and the day-to-day mundanities and pleasures of the real world on the other. All I can do is vote. And write. That I can do, too.

What’s Going to Happen with White, Suburban Women in the Midterm Elections?

Will white suburban women, angered over the Kavanaugh confirmation, vote with the Democrats this November? Nate Silver has been talking about it. It was a subject of the podcast, The Daily, this week. Dan Drezner wrote about it. Well, this blogger is about as white and suburban and female as it comes, so how about I answer this question?

So, I was completely engrossed in the drama around the Kavanaugh hearing. CNN was on all day long. I was on twitter all day long. And so were all my writer/academic/political friends. Typically, I tweet sparingly and get about 50K impressions per month. In that two-week period, I got over 500K impressions.

During the hearings, I would periodically put my hair up in a messy ponytail and leave the house. I would turn to a local friend and say “CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT’S GOING ON?!!!” and she would be like, “what are you talking about? Let’s talk about the kids’ prom.” Seriously, this made very little dent outside the world of super crazy political people like myself.

And among the handful of local friends who were engaged in the discussion, there were some who were very upset at Kavanaugh and were sure that he was a drunken rapist. And there were some that looked at Christine Ford and thought she was batshit crazy. Seriously. Some made that determination because she has “the skin of an alcoholic”, as one said; others were a couple degrees away from her former high school friends and heard stories.

Sexual assault was a common topic. Pretty much everyone I spoke with said that they had been assaulted when they were in their 20s. These assaults, they said, weren’t nearly-raped-level of assault; it was exposure, grabbing without consent, kissing without consent, gross comments, and minor fooling around when totally loaded and impossible to give consent. Even the Kavanaugh supporters said that this happened to them constantly when they were young and that they were worried about their daughters and nieces, but they also said that they got over those assaults really quickly. It was just a way of life back then, and it certainly didn’t cause anyone to put two front doors on their house. Way worse things happened to them as they got older, like the death of a parent and cancer.

This morning, as I was watching the Today Show and waiting for Ian’s school bus, the ads for local elections were all about taxes. The only reference to women and #MeToo in those came from the Republican opponent to Senator Bob Menendez, because he has a hooker and corruption problem. Sigh. I’m still voting for him anyway, but I’m not happy about it.

I’m not sure that many people are going to switch parties, because of Kavanaugh and other accumulated issues. It might increase voting turnout, but it will even out. Democrats and Republicans were equally fired up over the hearings. Sorry, it’s a bummer of a prediction, but there it is.

Warren in Our Archives

We’re talked a lot about Elizabeth Warren over the years. Here are some links from the archives:

 

 

Elizabeth Warren’s Roots

Since a spontaneous discussion has sprung up about Elizabeth Warren’s announcement that she’s part Cherokee, I thought I would give the discussion its own post.

Steve’s the genealogist in our family. My family really quickly goes back to Ireland and Italy. Between shabby record keeping, small villages where everybody has the same last name, and foreign language issues, I very quickly got a dead-end on my research. Steve  has family on both sides that goes back before the Revolutionary War, so he has easier access to records. He’s probably related to some of you.

Now, let’s talk about Warren. So, her announcement is surely a sign that she’s going to run in 2020. One of my friends on Facebook linked to an article with a headline, “Warren is 1% Cherokee, and 100% Running for President in 2020.” I think she hoped to galvanize the left behind her, as she attacked Trump for his Pocahontas comments, but I’m seeing a lot of “meh” on Twitter. I think it was a misstep.

Alright, let’s talk genealogy. Who has mapped out their families? Any famous relatives? Anybody do the DNA kits? Those kits are apparently a sham, but I got one for Steve for his birthday. My Italian aunt did it and it said that she was 99 percent Italian with 1 percent Eastern European. Steve said that there were supposedly Trojans that when to Italy after the Trojan War, so that might be true.

 

Our Political Circus

Yesterday, I spent ten hours sitting on a sofa in the family room watching the entire Senate confirmation hearing with Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. It will rank up there with other momentous political and social events that have happened in my life – the space shuttle destruction, 9/11, the election of Donald Trump. It was traumatic and horrific and personally scarring.

It should have never happened like that. That inquiry should have happened behind closed doors and been buttressed by an independent investigation. Instead, two individuals, and their families, were publicly destroyed and humiliated.

And everybody has their own experiences that sway their interpretation of events. As a woman who grew up in the 1980s, I had bad experiences with the popular, sporty boys, as well as my own stories of beer filled parties. And a guy tweeted me his own story about how he was falsely accused of a crime when he was in college. Also, I’ve talked with a lot of women who aren’t sympathetic with Blasey Ford. They tell me that guys did this stuff all the time back then and it never stuck with them.

But those experiences cannot sway our interpretation of events.  Everybody has their own stories, and it’s coloring our views of events, which is why none of us should have been involved.

There’s a lot at stake beyond these people. There’s the flagging public trust in our institutions. There’s the ability of a government to function effectively separately from partisanship. There’s the hope — a slim hope admittedly — that the justices of our supreme court can make decisions based on an impartiality examination of the constitution, wisdom, and compassion. All that was trashed along with the reputations of the individuals at the center of this circus.

We could have done better. We should have done better.

And this isn’t over. Republicans are now galvanized behind Lindsay Graham and will show up to vote in November, when they were, maybe, going to stay home. And the Democrats are going to never be quiet about Kavanaugh’s questionable past. When they win in 2020, they will vote to increase the number of justices on the court. Instead, they should put term limits on the justices. This lifetime appointment thing should be over.

This was terrible.

That said, I think that Kavanaugh should step down. It’s impossible to believe that he will be an impartial judge after this experience.